Speaker-Buzz Staff | July 19, 2018
Speaker-Buzz (SB) recently connected with Matt Griffin (MG), Speaker, Philanthropist, and CEO of Combat Flip Flops for an interview. Matt, known by his close friends as "Griff,"is a 2001 United States Military Academy graduate commissioned into the Field Artillery. Griff deployed four times to Iraq and Afghanistan with 2d Ranger Battalion as a Company Fire Support Officer.
Following his departure from the military in 2006, Griff worked in the defense sector which eventually led him back to Afghanistan to assist with medical infrastructure development. After witnessing the positive effects of economic growth in conflict areas, Griff co-founded Combat Flip Flops with a fellow Ranger and began the mission to manufacture peace through trade.
SB: Tell me how you first got involved in with Combat Flip Flops?
MG: After four tours with the Rangers, I began to recognize the futility of our efforts in the Middle East and separated from the military in 2006. A few years later, I took a job with Remote Medical International and began traveling the world to support commercial operations working in "difficult" regions of the planet. During these travels, I witnessed local business owners/entrepreneurs as the drivers of local security. Where business flourish, security was present. Where there was no business, there was war. That message kept hitting me in every country visited and the thought kept occurring, "Why isn't the U.S. sending more business leaders and entrepreneurs to these areas instead of soldiers?" Then one day I walked into an Afghan combat boot factory and saw a combat boot sole with a flip-flop thong attached to it... And Combat Flip Flops was born. The mission to create a business in a conflict area with the world's most popular footwear.
SB: How would someone describe you?
MG: I hear this often, so it must be true. Intense. I like to move with purpose and efficiency in everything. We have limited time on this planet, so I'd like to use my time as wisely and effectively as possible. People tend to view that demonstrated lifestyle and interactions as "intense."
SB: What do you find most challenging about life?
MG: Maintaining a positive mindset amidst the perpetual negativity is a moment by moment challenge. If it bleeds it leads. If it causes fear, it appears. Television, radio, social media is all about clicks related to emotion. The easiest and least expensive emotion to illicit is fear--typically done in a negative form. If you put down the screen and turn off the radio, you'd see how many blessings you truly have. And if you focus on those blessings, more appear. Maintaining that positivity in a sea of negativity is challenging.
SB: What do you wish other people knew about Combat Flip Flops?
We're an extremely small company. Five people to be exact. Everything you see is run by five people with zero business or manufacturing background! The mission is driven by the customer, not us. We are simply a conduit for individuals to step up, help others, and make positive change.
SB: What would you tell someone who is thinking about getting into a similar line of work?
MG: If you're going to work in a non-profit, you're really saying, "I'm going to work on my patience and leadership." Most non-profits are run by volunteers. When people aren't getting paid, regardless of how altruistic they may be, the mindset of leaders needs to be different. Imagine that you had a leader that could inspire you to work for free, be happy, and inspire others to do the same. What would that person say to you? What actions would you need to see demonstrated to inspire your performance? Now, you need to be that person.
Matt speaks frequently to corporate and athletic organizations on topics relating to philanthropy, retail markets and entrepreneurship. To check availability for Matt to speak at your next event please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or call 737.888.0038